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Are there other ways to improve speed compliance without using speed cameras?

Of the 1,529 people killed on the road in 2016 (where a contributory factor was reported), exceeding the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions was the main factor in 331 cases. The most recent British EuroRAP report: Cutting the cost of dangerous roads, revealed that of the ten most improved roads in Britain, four had benefited from having their speed limits reduced.

So, reducing speed limits where needed and improving speed compliance can improve road safety. But what are the most effective measures?

Speed cameras are an obvious way to increase speed compliance, which reduces the number and severity of accidents. Various studies have reported their effectiveness in increasing speed compliance. But a recent freedom of information request has revealed that only 52% of the fixed speed cameras on British roads are switched on. This is based on data from 36 of the 43 police forces in Britain. It tallies with what we hear from local authorities. They tell us that speed cameras are too expensive to run, both in the data requirements and the time taken to track down and fine speeding drivers.

Enforcement issues, such as those currently faced by Avon and Somerset Police after a clerical error forced them to cancel hundreds of tickets, further reduce the appeal of using speed cameras.

If speed cameras aren’t the complete answer, how else can we combat speeding?

There are plenty of ideas being used on our roads to slow traffic; from chicanes and speed bumps to road markings, fixed signage to speed indicator devices. But are there any new ideas that can help address specific challenges that our road network may face?

Dynamic VAS

Clearview Intelligence have built upon our vehicle activated technology to develop unique solutions using dynamic Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) to deliver long-term, effective results that improve speed compliance.

An example of this can be found on the A590 Foulshaw Lane junction in Cumbria. The A590 is a mix of single and dual carriageway with access to surrounding villages being provided off the main road along the route. Traffic needing to turn right onto the A590 often use a central reservation area as part of the entry process. This typically requires stationary time in the central reservation depending on traffic flows. The junction of the A590 and Foulshaw Lane is one such combination and over the past 5 years has seen a number of fatal and serious incidents where large HGVs pulling out of Foulshaw Lane have put oncoming traffic at risk of side-on collisions.

Clearview Intelligence worked alongside Kier and Carnell to design a long vehicle detection system that would operate across the junction and trigger a VAS warning message further up the road, alerting drivers to a specifc potential danger ahead. The solution was designed to only trigger the VAS when a long wheel base vehicle was at the junction. This was a significant technical achievement given the slow, stop/start nature of the traffic. The programming also included consideration for when multiple long vehicles are detected and the VAS is required to remain on for longer. Since the solution has been in place, there has been a noticeable change in the speed and behaviour of drivers on the approach to the junction.

Other instances where dynamic signage can reduce speeding, without the issue of drivers becoming complacent to the message, are when the sign has a dual purpose. For example, on the A701 at Beattock. When teamed with vehicle detection technology one sign can alert drivers to vehicles turning onto the road ahead and display a slow-down message when drivers exceed a set threshold.

Traffic Signal Sequencing

Existing traffic signals can also be used to encourage speed compliance by triggering a red light to stop speeding drivers. This method is commonly found in Europe and is most effective on roads where there is clear evidence of repeated non-compliance to the speed limit.

Clearview Intelligence designed a system that incorporated advanced wireless vehicle speed detection, vehicle speed activated signs and the existing traffic signals, on the A78 in Scotland where the road runs through the village of Fairlie.

The system slows down road users who persist in driving above the speed limit by stopping them at the traffic lights in the village. In this way they are forced to slow down.

Developing speed reduction solutions that are specific to the problem on a particular road means drivers are less likely to become complacent. This increases their effectiveness in slowing traffic. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you improve speed compliance on your roads, get in touch.

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: April 2018

Links: Route Safety Speed Compliance

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